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Types of Antioxidants and How to Add Them to Your Diet

Most people do not have time to break down how many nutrients they are getting in the foods they eat and they often don’t have time to make healthy meals. However, it’s important to make sure you are getting the minerals and vitamins you need to stay healthy, which includes antioxidants. If you’re not sure if you’re getting enough antioxidants in your diet, you can take antioxidant supplements.

Types of Antioxidants

Most plant-based whole foods including whole grains, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit contain antioxidants. They contain phytochemicals, which is one of the three main types of antioxidants, along with vitamins and enzymes. Phytochemicals are produced by plants to protect themselves from destructive free radicals. Phytochemicals include flavonoids, carotenoids, polyphenols, and allyl sulphides, among others.

Although the human body needs vitamins to properly function, it doesn’t produce them. Although most people get vitamins from food sources, they may also take multivitamins to supplement their diets. Some of the antioxidant vitamins include vitamins A, C, E, folic acid or vitamin B9, and beta-carotene. Vitamins should be included in our food sources or supplemented daily.

Antioxidants are synthesised in the human body to make enzymes, which are made in the proteins or minerals people eat in their diets. Some of these enzymes include catalases, superoxide dismutase or SOD, and glutathione peroxidase. Foods containing proteins and minerals should be consumed daily.

Antioxidant Supplements

The purpose of antioxidants is to protect the cells in our bodies from free radicals. Free radicals are mainly passed along through the oxygenation process because oxygen helps to form them. Along with damaging our body cell structures, free radicals can also alter DNA so it is important to the proper functioning of our bodies to eat foods or take supplements containing antioxidants.

Antioxidant supplements are available in capsules, pills, or powder forms. While many antioxidant supplements are made to help maintain overall health, others help to make your skin, hair, and nails healthier; help the body synthesise proteins better; aid in building lean muscle mass; or detox the liver. Some of the supplements contain green tea extract because green tea is one of the best sources of antioxidants or red wine extract, coenzyme q10 or CoQ10, or micro-algae and acai powder along with other greens in powder form.

Recommended by Doctor

While it is better to try to eat foods containing antioxidants, you can still take supplements if you have a poor diet. However, you should speak to your doctor about taking any supplements. There are recommended daily amounts of most vitamins and going over those recommendations can have consequences for your health.

Unless your doctor recommends supplements to help with medical issues or shows you are deficient in vitamins or minerals, don’t self-supplement because taking too many antioxidants can have a pro-oxidant effect. Talk to your doctor about taking antioxidant supplements if you think you can benefit from them or eat more plant-based foods to get them naturally. Drink green tea, a glass of red wine, or, better yet, eat small amounts of dark chocolate.

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